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telligence, distinctly appeared in the .forms of worship which the Reformers generally established when. they had thrown off the authority of the Roman pontiff. The Romish liturgies, touching, admirable, and catholic, as great part of them are, were in general abolished; and, in their stead, extempore prayers, often of portentous length, were used, to give each individual minister an opportunity of introducing, in every part of the sacred proceeding, his peculiar tenets. The sermon, for a similar reason, became the longest and most important part of the service. Every one knows how strongly the same lines of distinction still characterize the ultra-Reformers, who contend for the Calvinistic tenets and Presbyterian form of worship, and those more moderate partizans of the Reformation who have embraced the less violent schism of the Church of England.
Political equality was, and still is, the grand aspiration of the nineteenth century. What the ardent multitndes who embraced the principles of the French Revolution desired, was equality of privilege, and universal participation in power. They saw the injustice and cruelty of their former oppressors, they felt how galling their chains had been, and they flattered themselves that, if they could once get possession of the reins of power, they had suffered too severely from their abuse to be in any danger of being led astray in the use they made of them. Abolition of rank and privilege, the opening of all careers to all, and the admission of all into the equal enjoyment of power, by means of a government resting on universal suffrage, was the general object of ambition, and has been established for a brief period in France, Spain, Portugal, and Piedmont; more durably in North and South America. What the results of this system of government are to bo, is the great problem which is in the course of solution in the nineteenth century; but be these results fortunate or unfortunate, it is this which constitutes the characteristic of the period, and will form the object of close and anxious attention to historians in ftiture times. It was a principle and basis of government wholly new in
human affairs. No previous republic, either in ancient or modern times, had exhibited any approach to it. The seclusion of the great body of the working class, in all the states of antiquity, from auy share either in municipal or social powers, by reason of the generality of slavery — the arrangement of men in trades and crafts, through whose heads all their powers were exercised, in the free cities of Italy and Flanders, in modern times, and in general in all the European burghs, necessarily rendered the basis of government in all former commonwealths essentially different. A democratic valley may have existed in Uri or Underwalden, where all the citizens were equally rich in fortune, and nearly equally poor in intelligence; but the example of a great community resting on universal suffrage, and a simple majority of votes, began with the year 1789.
Although the proper democratic spirit existed in great strength in many of the leaders of the Great Rebellion, and its extravagances generally affected the army, and some of the powerful leaders of that convulsion, yet extension of political power was not the object of the national will. This is decisively proved by the fact, that when they gained the power, the people made no attempt, in auy material respect, to alter the public institutions. Cromwell, doubtless, was a military usurper; but a military usurper is only the head of a warlike republic, and he is constrained to obey the wishes of the soldiers who have elevated him to power. Neither he nor the Long Parliament made any important alterations on the lasting structure of government, though, for the time, they totally altered its practice. The law was administered on the old precedents during the wholo Protectorate. The estates of the malignants were put under sequestration, and many of the church lands were confiscated, but no great alteration in the foundations of government took place. Power, when the military oppression was removed, immediately returned to its former seats. The parliaments summoned by Cromwell proved so refractory, that they were in general dissolved after having sat a few days; juries, throughout
his reign, were so hostile to his government that they acquitted nearly all the state offenders brought before them; and legal prosecutions fell into disuse. Every thing was done by military force; but it never occurred to him to turn up the soil, so as to bring up fresh elements into action:— he never thought of summoning a parliament resting on universal snffrage, or establishing a revolutionary tribunal, the jurors of which were nominated by that democratic assembly. So as the victorious party were allowed to chant hymns as they pleased, and hear long sermons replete with auy absurdity, and indulge in the freedom of the pulpit, they cared nothing for that of the press, or altering the structure of government. When Charles II. was recalled by Monk, he had only to issue writs to the counties and boroughs which had returned the Long Parliament, to obtain the most thoroughly loyal commons which ever sat in England.
Although the change of government in 1688 is usually called "the Revolution," and although it certainly was a most decisive overthrow so far as the reigning family was concerned, yet it was by no means a revolution in the sense in which we now understand the word. It made no change in the basis of power in the state, though it altered the dynasty which sat on the throne, and for seventy years fixed the reign of power in the hands of the Whig party, who had been most instrumental in placing William and Mary on it. But the structure of Government remained unchanged; or rather, it was changed only to be rendered more stable and powerful. We owe to the Revolution many of our greatest blessings; but not the least of these has been the removal of the causes of weakness which had so often before, in English history, proved fatal to the throne. It gave us a national debt, a standing army, and a stable foreign policy. The sum annually raised by William in taxes, within five years after he obtained the throne, was triple what had been so much the subject of complaint in the time of Charles I.; but the effect of this was to give us a firm government and steady policy. De Witt had said,
in the disgraceful days of the alliance of Charles II. with France, that the changes of English policy had now become so frequent, that no man could rely on any system being continued steadily for two years together. The continental interests and connexions of William, and subsequently of the Hanover family, gave us a durable system of foreign policy, and imprinted, for an hundred and forty years, that steadiness in our councils, without which neither individuals nor nations ever attained either lasting fame or greatness. Nor was it the least blessing consequent upon such a change of external policy, and of the wars which it necessarily induced, that it gave Government the lasting support of a standing army, and thus prevented that ruinous prostration of the executive before the burst of popular passion, which had so often induced the most dreadful disorders in English history. After 1688, the standing army, though inconsiderable compared with what it has since become, was always respectable, and adequate, as the result of the rebellions in 1716 and 1745 demonstrated, to the defence of Government against the most serious domestic dangers. That of itself was an incalculable blessing, and cheaply purch ased by the nation al debt and all the bloodshed of our foreign wars. Had Charles I. possessed five thousand guards, he would at once have crushed the great Rebellion; and the woful oppression of the Long Parliament, which, during the eleven years that it sat, extorted eighty millions, equal to two hundred millions at this time, from an impoverished and bleeding nation, would have been prevented.
Englishmen are not accustomed to pride themselves upon the external successes and military trinmphs of the eighteenth century; and they have been so eclipsed by those of the Revolutionary war, that they are now in a great measure thrown Into the shade. Yet nothing is more certain than that it is in external success and warlike glory, that, during the seventy years which immediately succeeded the Revolution, we must look for the chief rewards and best vindication of that convulsion. England then took its appropriate place as the head of tha Protestant faith, the bulwark of the liberties of Europe. The ambition of the House of Bourbon, which so nearly proved fatal to them in the person of Louis XIV., became the lasting object of their apprehension and resistance. The heroic steadiness of William, the consummate genins of Marlborough, the ardent spirit of Chatham, won for us the glories of the War of the Succession and of the Seven Years. Though deeply checkered, especially in the American war, with disaster, the eighteenth century was,upon the whole, one of external glory and national advancement. To their honour be it spoken, the Whigs at that period were the party who had the national glory and success at heart, and made the greatest efforts, both on the theatre of arms and of diplomacy, to promote it. The Tories were lukewarm or indifferent to national glory, averse to foreign alliances, and often willing to purchaso peace by the abandonment of the chief advantages which war had purchased. During the Revolutionary war the case was just the reverse—the parties mutually changed places. The Tories were the national and patriotic, the Whigs the grumbling and discontented party. Both parties, in both Eeriods, were in reality actuated, peraps unconsciously, by their party interests—the Whigs were patriotic and national, the Tories backward and lukewarm when the Whigs were in power, and derived lustre from foreign success; the Tories were patriotic and national when they held the reins of government, and the opposite vices had passed over to their antagonists.
But if from the external policy and foreign triumphs of the Whigs during the first sixty years of the eighteenth century, we turn to the domestic government which they established, and the social ameliorations which they introduced, we shall see much less reason to congratulate ourselves on the benefits gained by the Revolution. It is here that the great moral and political lesson of the eighteenth century is to be found; this it is which it behoves our historians to tell; this it is which they have left untold. The long possession of power, after the accession of William and Mary, by the Whig party, which continued uninterrupted for seventy years, and the
want of any philosophical history of the period since they were dispossessed of office, have prevented the truth from being boldly told, or even generally known in this country. It is much more generally appreciated, however, by continental writers, and we may, rest assured the eyes of future generations will be steadily fixed on it. The danger is, that it will throw discredit on the cause, both of civil and religious freedom, in the eyes of future generations in the world. Let us, in the first instance, boldly, and without seeking to disguise the truth, examine what are the religious and civil evils which have attracted the attention of mankind in Great Britain during the eighteenth century, and then enquire whether they are the necessary result of the Reformation and the Revolution, or have arisen from causes foreign to that of religious and civil freedom—in a word, from the usual intermixture of human selfishness and iniquity with those great convulsions.
The two great evils which have disfigured the reformed church in the British islands, since its final establishment at the Revolution, have been the endless multiplication and unceasing rancour of sects, and the palpable outgrowth of the population beyond the possibility of their gratuitous instruction in religious truth by means of the national church.
The three great evils which havo been felt in the political and social world in England duringtheeighteenth century, are the prodigious, and in general irresistible, power of an oligarchy ; the unbounded parliamentary and official corruption by which their influence has been upheld; and the uuprecedented spread of pauperism through the working classes of society.
In these days the reality of those evils will probably not be disputed in any quarter ; when we have seen the latter lead to the Reform Bill, and the great organic change of 1832, as well ns keep the nation, and all serious thinkers in it, in a state of constant anxiety ; and the former rend the national church in Scotland asunder; threaten the most serious religions divisions in England, and in both countries permit the growth of a huge body of practical heathens in the midst of a Christian land.
Were these evils the necessary and inevitable result of the Reformation and the Revolution; or have they arisen from causes foreign to these changes, and which, in future times, may be detached from them? The Roman Catholic writers on the Continent all maintain the former opinion, and consider them as the necessary effect and jnst punishment of the great schism from the church; which, by a natural consequence, ended in civil convulsion, public immorality, and social distress. The English writers have, hitherto, rather avoided than grappled with the subject; they have rather denied the existence of the evils, than sought to account for them. Let us consider to what cause these unquestionable evils of the eighteenth century are really to be ascribed.
They know little of the human heart who expect that, in an age and country where religion M at all thought of, sects and religious differences will not prevail. As well might you expect that, in a free community, political parties are to be unknown. Truth, indeed, is one and the same in all ages; but so also is the light of the sun ; yet, in how many different hues, and under how many different appearances, does it manifest itself in the world? In the smoky city, and on the clear mountain; on the sandy desert, and in the stagnant marsh; radiant with the warmth of July, or faintly piercing the gloom of December. So various are the capacities, feelings, emotions, and dispositions of men, that, on any subject which really interests them, diversity of opinion is as inevitable as difference in their countenances, stature, character, fortune, and state in the world. Hence it was that our Saviour said he came to bring not peace on earth, but a sword—to divide the father from the son, to array the mother against the daughter. It will be so to the end of the world. Unity of opinion on political subjects seems to prevail under Asiatic despotism; in religious, under the European papacy—but nowhere else. The conclusion to be drawn from the absence of all theological disputes in a community, is, not that all think alike on religion, but that none think at all,
But although no rational man who knows the human heart will ever express a wish to see entire religious unity prevail in a state, yet there can be no question, that the prodigious multiplication of sects in Britain, which strikes foreigners with such astonishment, is mainly to be ascribed, as well as the immense mass of civilized heathenism which, through the whole of the eighteenth century, was growing up in the island, to the iniquitous confiscation of the property of the church which took place at the Reformation. It is well known that the proportion of the tithes of England which belongs to lay impropriators, is more considerable than that which is still in the hands of the church ; and if to them is added the abbey and monastery lands, they would by this time have amounted to a very large annual sum, probably not less than six or seven millions a-year. In Scotland, it is well known, the church lands at the Reformation were about a third of the whole landed property. They would now, therefore, have produced £1,700,000 a-year, as the entire rental is somewhat above five millions. What a noble fund here existed, formed and set apart by the piety and charity of former ages, for the service of the altar and of the poor—two causes which God hath joined, and no man should put asunder! What incalculable good would it have done, if it had been preserved sacred for its proper destination—sacred from the corruptions, mummery, and despotism of the Romish church, but preserved inviolato for the support of religion, the relief of suffering, the spread of education! What is it which blights and paralyses all the efforts now made, whether by individuals, voluntary associations, or the state, for the attainment of those truly godlike objects? Is it not ever one thing—the practical impossibility of finding the requisite funds to support the institutions necessary to grapple with the evils, on a scale at all commensurate to their magnitnde? The Established C hurch could not spread for want of funds to erect and endow churches; meanwhile the population in the mannfacturing districts and great towns was rapidly increasing, and, in consequence, part of the peoplo took refuge in the divisions of dissent, part in the oblivion of practical heathenism. Thence the multiplication of sects,the spread of pauperism, the growth of civilized heathenism In the state. The poor-laws dated from the dissolution of the monasteries ; the fortysecond of Elizabeth stands a durable record of the real origin of that burdensome tax. It was the appropriation of the funds of religion and charity to the gratification of secular rapacity, which has been the cause of the chief religious and social evils under which Great Britain has ever since laboured ; and it is it which still presents an invincible obstacle to all the efforts which are made for their removal.
But the confiscation of the church lands and tithes to the use of the temporal nobility was not a necessary part of the Reformation, any more than the confiscationof theestatesof thechurch and the emigrants was a necessary step in the progress of freedom in France. In both cases, the iniquitous spoliation was the result of human wickedness mingling with the current, and taking advantage of the generous effort for religious or civil emancipation on the part of the many, to render it the means of achieving individual robbery for behoof of the few. The Reformation might have been established in the utmost purity in Great Britain, without one shilling being diverted from the service of the church, or the maintenance of the poor, and with the preservation of a fund large enough to have provided for the permanent support of the unfortunate, and the progressive extension of tho Established Church, in proportion to the increase and wants of the inhabitants. In like manner, the Revolution might have been conducted to a successful aud probably bloodless termination in France, without the unutterable present misery and hopeless ultimate prostration of religion and freedom, which resulted from the confiscations of tho Convention, and the division of all the land in the kingdom among the peasants. In neither case are we justified in stigmatizing the cause of freedom, on account of the dreadful excesses which were committed by the selfish who joined in its support; but in both we must acknowledge the impartial justice of
Providence, which has made the iniquity of men work out their own appropriate and well-deserved punishments, and has made it to descend to the third and fourth generations from those who committed or permitted the deeds of injustice.
The power of the oligarchy, which resulted from the Revolution of 1688, and the unbounded corruption by which, for seventy years afterwards, their power was maintained, has been less the subject of observation or censure by subsequent writers, for the very obvious reason that the popular party, who had gained the victory at the Revolution, were during all that period in power, and they have been in no hurry to expose or decry these degrading, but to them most profitable, abuses. It is probable that they never would have been brought to light at all, but wonld have quietly and irrevocably sapped the foundations of the British character and of British greatness, had it not been that, fortunately for the country, the incubus of corrupting Whig aristocracy was thrown off by George III. and Lord Bute, in 1761, and cast down by the same monarch and Mr Pitt, in 1784; and, in their rage and disappointment, they exposed, when practised by their opponents, the well-known, and, to them, long profitable abuses, by which the government, since the Revolution, had been carried on. It is the revelations on this subject which have recently issued from the press, which have cast so broad, and, to the philosophic historian, so important a light on the history of the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century; and among them, the letters and memoirs of Horace Walpole occupy a distinguished place. Certainly it was far from tho intention of that able and witty annalist to illustrate the unbounded abuses, so long practised by Sir Robert Walpole and the Whigs who preceded him, nor the vast blessings conferred upon tho country by George III. and Lord Bute, who first broke through the degrading spell. We have heard little of this view of the subject from the able and learned Whigs who have reviewed his works. Yet it lies on the very surface of things, and little need be said, and still less learned, to show that it is there that the turning